tv Special Report With Bret Baier FOX News February 2, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PST
anthony, i'm greg. >> bret: for the first time, a top administration official says the u.s. will end its combat operations in afghanistan next year. this is "special report." good evening, i'm brett pair. pale have all the news on the presidential news, including late breaking news out of the just wrapped up primary in florida that has the potential to change things. first, breaking news on the u.s. war effort in afghanistan. how much longer combat operations will take place? jennifer griffin is live at the pentagon with details. good evening. >> good evening, brett. it was an announcement that was supposed to be made in may at a
nato meeting in chicago. defense secretary leon panetta may have gotten ahead of the administration on this, according to one senior u.s. official. >> enroute to a nato summit in brussels, secretary panetta announced u.s. forces will end combat operations in afghanistan next year. quote, hopefully by mid to the latter part of 2013 we'll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training, advise and assist role. he told reporters traveling with him. it's not going to be a kind of formal combat role that we are now. it was the first time a senior obama administration official has said that the u.s. would end its combat role next year. a senior u.s. defense official tried to clarify, saying it was consistent with the process which calls for u.s. and nato forces to leave afghanistan at the end of 2014, and similar to the way u.s. forces positioned out of iraq. >> it seems to me that our government is at odds with itself n a sense that senior
commanders in afghanistan and also generals are under the clear impression that 2013 is a fighting season for them with full combat operations and not a training support mission only. >> on friday, french president sarkozy surprised hit nato ally, announcing an accelerated withdrawal of troops from afghanistan. on capitol hill today, a hearing to investigate the killings by afghan soldiers of their nato trainers. rudy was 19 years old and six weeks away from coming home from afghanistan when he was killed last march by an armed afghan guard trusted to watch over a u.s. base in kandahar near the border with pakistan. >> at a time when they considered they were safe, they were taken advantage of and killed without any chance to become themselves. >> there were 45 instances of so-called friendly afghan forces killing u.s. troops since 2007.
three quarters of the attacks have occurred in the past two years. meanwhile, a leaked nato report suggests according to interviews with taliban prisoners, the taliban think they will return to power after the u.s. leaves in 2014 with the help of pakistan. >> bret: more on the afghanistan announcement with the panel, general i have griffin live, thank you. now to the presidential race. mitt romney is coming out of tuesday's florida primary with a big win over newt gingrich in what was essentially a two-man contest there. today the focus has shifted to the north and west. three of the four remaining gop hopefuls are spending time in nevada today ahead of the saturday caucuses. the fourth was in colorado, site of a primary next tuesday. chief political correspondent carl cameron begins our coverage with some late breaking news about the delegate battle in florida. good evening, carl. >> hi. the florida primary may not be over. under republican national committee rules, no state can be winner take all prior to
april 1. and tonight the gingrich campaign is prepared to complain. we've gotten ahold of a memo from the gingrich campaign, plus a memo from reince previn stating the rules specifically to florida in december of last year, no state can be winner take all prior to april 1. fox news has learned that tomorrow the gingrich campaign will send a florida campaign official to officially look into and see if they can get in force the rules that prevent this state from being winner take all and require it to be portional, which could give gingrich delegates. in the meantime, the candidates have all moved on. fresh off of florida, blowout win over newt gingrich, mitt romney rolled into minnesota and promptly got glitter bombed. >> i'm happy for a little celebration. this is confetti! we just won florida! we're just going to win the white house next. >> then for the second time in a week, he sang. >> all right. not just me now. okay? ♪ oh, beautiful for spacious
skies ♪ ♪ for amber waves of grain ♪ . >> romney is under fire as a rich elitist for this statement on cnn n i'm not concerned about the very poor. we have a safety net there. if it needs repair, i'll fix it. i'm not concerned about the very rich. they're doing just fine. i'm concerned about the very heart of america, the 90, 95% of americans who are struggling. >> on his campaign plane, romney said he's not dissing the poor. >> i'm concerned about all americans. >> in nevada, he shelvessed some of his hotter attack, depicting romney as racist, but latched on to his comments about the poor. >> i am fed up with politicians in either party dividing americans against each other. i am running to be the president of all the american people and i am concerned about all of the american people.
>> rick santorum was campaigning colorado. he slammed romney and gingrich for backing health care mandates. ron paul is focusing on nevada and maine caucuses where his ability to organize makes him a factor. maine and nevada caucuses come early in a slow february campaign month. romney won them both in 08. tuesday the 7th includes minnesota, colorado, and missouri. romney won colorado in 08. but santorum has the backing of james dobson, founder of the colorado springed based focus on the family. in minnesota, gingrich feels he has a battlefield to contest romney. but the former speaker will not appear on the ballot in missouri at the end of the month comes arizona and michigan. mitt romney was born and grew up in michigan. he's considered a favorite there. in arizona, he'll be relying heavily on the help of senator john mccain. tonight the gingrich campaign is hoping they can turn the florida results from a winner take all to romney to a proportional allocation of delegates where they can pick up some numbers. >> bret: we'll continue to follow that story.
thank you. as carl mentioned, the primaries and caucuses are all about piling up these delegates. on the way to the nominating convention which is in tampa in late august. tonight chief washington correspondent james rosen looks at where we are in the delegate count. good evening, james. >> good evening. imagine if every driver competing in the indy 500 were to argue that the shape of the racetrack favors his car to win. that's what's happening essentially with the four gop presidential can tenders as their hunt for delegates heats up. let's start with the basics. between now and the end of july, there are up for grabs exactly 2286 delegates. to clinch the nomination in advance of the nomination, one needs capture this magic number, 1144 delegates. so where do we stand at this point in the process? not very far along, actually. if you factor in yesterday's big win in florida for governor romney, he has 87 delegates. the four states that have vote sod far have only awarded a total of 115 delegates. put another way, that's slightly
more than 5% of the total. that's why so many people are looking ahead to super tuesday. on that day, march 6, voters in ten states will go to the polls. 437 delegates will be up for grabs. roughly 19% of the total. most of them will be awarded what we call a proportional, not a winner take all basis. virginia happens to be a hybrid of those two systems and it's giving away almost 50 delegates on super tuesday, but guess what? newt gingrich didn't qualify for the ballot there. he's more hopeful about his home state of georgia, which is giving away 76 delegates on super tuesday, the most of any super tuesday state. factor in the other southern states that are going to be voting over the next two months and you see why team gingrich argues that the schedule favors the former speaker over governor romney. >> the idea that after florida this is over makes no sense at all. we now go into a long stretch of proportional representation. we have no evidence he can get 50% but romney aides point to a number of upcoming states where they say their candidate will do very well. among them, nevada caucuses on
saturday where 28 delegates will be awarded on a proportional basis, and also the arizona primary later in the month where 29 delegates will be awarded on a winner take all basis. however, minnesota with its strong populist, progressive streak could conceivably go for a maverick like newt gingrich. >> minnesota is a state hard to predict. they'll make the decision. nevada is a strong tea party >> bottom line, if no candidate captures the necessary 1144 delegates, then we head to a brokered convention in tampa in august. that's how long speaker gingrich has vowed to carry on the fight. >> bret: james, thank you. democrats held on to a congressional seat that came open with the renege says of david wu last august. the 7-temple representative left after a series of reports about
bizarre behavior. democrat suzanne bonamici won in tuesday's special election. indiana has become the first state in a decade to enact a right to work law. despite protests from pro union activist, state senators approved a measure prohibiting labor contracts from requiring workers to pay union representation fees. republican governor mitch daniels signed it into law this afternoon. up next, the president tries to pump up the housing market again. now for tonight's infinity sponsored text to vote question, which deals with the administration's requirement that catholic organizations provide insurance for their employees covering contraception, how much will catholic backlash over that health care decision hurt president obama? text sr 1 for a great deal, sr 2 for some. sr 3 for not much. sr 4 for not at all. we'll bring you the results at the end of the
>> bret: the dow today broke a four-day losing streak and closed 84 points ahead. the s & p 500 added 12. the nasdaq was up 34. one major obstacle to president obama's reelection is the economy. one of the things holding the economy back has been the housing market. today the president tried again to gin up enthusiasm for a plan to pump some life into the housing sector. ed henry reports on the latest effort to take a big weapon away from the opposition. >> coming out of florida with a head of steam, republican mitt romney is jumping on a promise president obama made three years ago today. >> he said look, if i can't turn this economy around in three years, i'll be looking at a one-term proposition and we're
here to collect. >> since fixing the foreclosure crisis is key to that proposition, the president today introduced yet another new housing reform. >> the housing plan we launched a couple of years ago has helped nearly 1 million responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages and they're saving an average of $300 on their payment each month. $300, which is great. >> nowhere near the number of homeowners the president promised to help three years ago this month when he announced his first plan in the heart hit battle ground of arizona. >> we will help we know 7 and 9 million families. >> today in the state of virginia, the president admitted he's come up short, but vowed today's plan is different because the federal housing administration will back underwater loans if homeowners are current on payments. with that taxpayer guarantee, banks are more likely to refinance, which the president's housing chief says will give the average family $3,000 to pump
into the economy. >> we're not going to sit on our hands watching middle class homeowners who have done the right thing and played by the rules get hurt. >> rick: republicans oppose a new tax on banks that would cover the nearly $10 billion price tag and warn further expanding fha's role is another risky attempt to prop up the housing market. >> i don't know why anyone would think that this next idea is going to work. and all they've done is delay the clearing of the market. >> back in october during a stop in las vegas, romney also said the market had to hit bottom. drawing this shot today from the president. >> it is wrong for anybody to suggest that the only option for struggling, responsible homeowners is to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom. >> white house officials believe there is little risk to taxpayers 'cause these are mortgage holders current on their payments and if the payments are reduced, they'll be in better shape. republicans note the fha has
been dipping into its reserves and this is one of many reasons why this plan faces an uphill battle. >> that the obama administration campaign released a list of its top money bundlers. any news there? >> interesting because these are people who raised at least 200,000 to a half a million dollars for the obama reelect. two figures who are involved in the solyndra deal. that solar company in california that we want bankrupt, they're on this list as having raised big money for the obama campaign. but i'll note that right now the obama campaign has over $81 million in the bank. this is a small amount of that money. >> okay. thank you. we told you tuesday the latest budget projection forecasts, another fiscal year of more than a trillion dollars in deficit spending. tonight chief national correspondent jim angle has reaction from capitol hill. >> that they laid out projections of growth and deficits which paul ryan called ominous, grim and alarming. >> 2012 will mark the fourth straight year of trillion dollar deficits. trillions more dollars will be
added to the debt in the years ahead putting a chilling effect on job creation today and committing the next generation to a diminished future. >> democrat chris van holland took a different approach, saying that would have been worse without the president's stimulus plan. >> the recovery act did serve its purpose. it's kind of like when you're walking up an escalator that's going down very quickly. if you take no action, you will go down very fast. >> of course, future deficits depend on how fast the economy, spending and revenues grow. and the cbo isn't offering a a lot of encouragement. >> the pace of the recovery has been slow since the recession ended 2 1/2 years ago. we project that it will continue to be slow for the next two years. >> in fact, the cbo believes economic growth will only be 2% this year and 1.1% next year. it says that will leave the unemployment rate at 8.9% at the end of this year, well above the current rate of 8.5, meaning the jobless rate would be increasing at election time.
>> are there more people working today or fewer people working today than on inauguration day of 2009? >> i believe the answer to that is there are fewer people, congressman. >> in 2013, cbo estimates unemployment even higher at 9.2%. republicans worry about deficits, but one democrat railed against those who focused on cutting spending. >> people here that want to destroy the government that, it has no responsibility and it can't live up to the obligations. >> one of the factors that will expand future deficits is the entitlements such as medicare, which will explode as the baby boomers retire. >> the number of people age 65 or older will increase by one third in the coming decade. >> the cbo did project declining deficits under current law, but current law would end the bush hack cuts for everyone which not even the president supports. it would mean a cut of almost 30% to doctors who treat medicare patients, which congress has never let take effect. so deficits will continue to expand by several trillion over
>> bret: in international news, egypt's interior ministry says at least 74 people were killed and almost 250 injured when fans of rival soccer teams rushed the field today. witnesses say the stampede occurred after the home team concluded a rare win over egypt's top team. a senior united nations nuclear official says a new trip to iran is planned for the near
future. nuclear experts held three days of talks with iranians this week. also today, iran's parliament was present add new budget that reduces dependence on oil revenue, which are being threatened by a u.s. led boycott. syrian troops continue to pound away at resistants from antigovernment forces. leeland vitter shows us how dissidents are fighting against both the military and long odds. >> rebel gunners blazed away with a russian made armor personnel carrier as they tried to take out a army checkpoint. it's unclear if they captured the weaponry or if defecting soldiers brought it with them. for the first time in 11 months, fighters had something to hide behind as they took on president assad's forces. on mission is to protect homes, neighborhoods and response to the massacres by bashar's
criminal gain. they are fighting with whatever they can. even converting light pick up trucks to armored vehicles in preparation for a long fight. it's a small step, but not nearly enough to protect the besieged city. assad's tank gunners still fire at will. today hitting an apartment building that was later burned. killing their own country men is proving too much for soldiers. the town welcomed new fighters who left the syrian army. towns people placed flowers in the barrels of their ak 47s. crime resistance rang out at the funeral for four killed in the violence. god is great, roared the crowd. divine intervention may be the only help syrian rebels get. russia has said it will veto any u.n. resolution sanctioning its long-time ally and the united states along with its european allies have taken the military option to kick assad out of power off the table. in jerusalem, leeland vitter,
fox news. >> bret: the american civil liberties union, aclu, is suing the obama administration demanding information about u.s. drone strikes against terror suspects. the group wants legal memos and evidence justifying the killings in yemen of american born cleric anwar al-awlaki and others. the family of slain border patrol agent brian terry has filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit against the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. it asserts terry was killed with a weapon sold in the fast and furious tracking program. tomorrow eric holder is scheduled to talk about fast and furious to a congressional committee. next in the grapevine, newt gingrich dreams big. and don't forget tonight's infinity sponsored text to vote question. how much will catholic backlash over the health care decision hurt president obama? text sr 1 for a great deal.
so, are you all right, man? yeah. let me help you out. thanks. ♪ lean on me, ♪ when you're not strong, and i'll be your friend. ♪ see you around. yeah. ♪ i'll help you carry on... ♪ >> bret: now some political grapevine. a rhode island pro-life group says its right to life rally at the state capitol last week was disrupted by occupy wall street protesters. the group's director says the event was cut short after occupiers threw condoms at
catholic school girls. refused to allow a priest to give a closing prayer, and shouted down a speaker. quote, what kind of individual throws condoms at catholic school girls? this is their idea of civil speech, but we believe it's an outrage. we reached out to occupy providence, but have not heard back. a massachusetts woman says f.b.i. agents used a chain saw blade to cut through her door and held her at gun point for at least 30 minutes before realizing they had the wrong house. the mother says while agents held her down, her three-year-old daughter cried in another room. the f.b.i. has apologized and is paying for the damage. it says agents were after a suspected drug dealer in the same multi unit building. finally, republican presidential candidate newt gingrich had no trouble choosing his ideal actor for a possible movie about him. >> if hollywood was going to do a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role? >> brad pitt.
>> so i can see the movie trailer now, brad pitt as newt gingrich? >> is it because you both look so much alike? >> i don't look like him at all. he's thinner, better look. you asked me if i could play somebody in a movie, why not go tore brad pitt. if you're going to go for it, let your imagination soar. >> bret: no reaction from brad pitt's camp about the role. as we told you earlier, gingrich and some of his fellow candidates are already campaigning in nevada site of saturday's caucuses. tonight john roberts tells us what kind of political environment they are entering. >> nevada is seeing boom and bust. but the pain has rarely been this bad. >> we're here in las vegas and we're in one of the most depressed markets in the country and nobody in washington is listening to the people. >> the silver state has been tarnished with an unemployment rate that topped 14% and a
housing crisis that is still the worst in the nation. one in 16 properties has been foreclosed on. last year, nevada banks seized 36,000 homes. >> i have a friend that drives a school bus. he gets at the end of his route, he's got three kids on the back of the bus crying. they don't know where they live now. >> rick: it's stories like that that make the nevada caucuses so important for voters. mitt romney won here four years ago in a landslide. he's the favorite, but many republicans are betting he gets a run for his money. amy is the state gop chair. >> i believe there is two candidates. you have congressman ron paul and then you also have governor mitt romney and those two i don't believe ever left our state last go round. both are bigger, ber, stronger. >> this first in the west contest will give us a glimpse into how the candidate also perform in the region and with proportional allocation, there are delegates to be had here. for his part, ron paul is
optimistic about the odds. >> i don't think romney is going to do nearly as well this year as did he last four years ago. >> according to political science professor, the candidates are vying for three wings of the party in nevada. establishment conservative, which could go romney's way, the hard core conservative base has yet to embrace him. there is the libertarian, individualistic voters who may gravitate to paul. and tea party conservatives, who could split a number of ways. and then there are the mormons. >> mormons are about 11% of the population, but in a republican primary, they may be up to a quarter of the voters here. what is very important to remember here is they have very, very high turnout rates. >> four years ago, pheromones voted 90% for romney. but ron paul is courting them heavily, appeal to go their innate respect for the constitution. >> they see this as a very, very special document and limiting government and self reliance, i mean, they are not big government people. so on issues, i am very close to the mormons.
>> no question that at the moment, mitt romney has the inside track. but the caucuses involve a small number of voters and the results can sometimes buck conventional wisdom. in a state that was built on big bets and bold moves, few people are willing to go all in on a romney victory just yet. in las vegas, john roberts, fox news. >> bret: the nation's leading breast cancer charity is ending its partnership with planned parenthood. susan g. komen for the cure cites its new rule against working with organizations under investigation by authorities. planned parenthood is the subject of a congressional probe. the organization says komen is buckling under pressure from anti-abortion groups. we'll look at what happened in florida, the delegate bat that will may continue there, and a new statement from mitt romney getting attention when fox all stars join me after the
>> i'm not concerned about the very poor. we have a safety net there. if it needs repair, i'll fix it. i'm not concerned about the very rich. they're doing just fine. i'm concerned about the very heart of america, the 90, 95% of americans who right now are struggling. >> you just said, i'm not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net. i think there are lots of very poor americans who are struggling who would say that sounds odd. could you explain in a? >> finish the sentence. i said i'm not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net burks if it has holes in it, i will repair them. >> got it. >> the challenge right now -- we will hear from the democrat party the plight of the poor and there is no question, it's not good being poor and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor. but my campaign is focused on middle income americans. >> bret: we want to play the full sound bite from cnn this morning as former governor mitt romney appeared after his big win in florida doing a number of interviews on a number of
different networks. that raised some eyebrows all across the media and across the political world. he, in fact, came out to reporters on the plane a little later in the day and tried to explain further. >> bret: let's start there. let's bring in fred barns, rick klein, and charles krauthammer. charles? >> this is bad. it's not just the day after a big win in florida. he only spent a -- it's not just that it strengthens the stereotype of romney as the practice tropical depression who is only aware of the poor as pool who clean the streets and wash his car. the real problem here is that it shows he doesn't have efluency
with conservative ideas. they're not the one who engage in the war of the classes or division of american classes. obamas will win that kind of argument every day. the moral case for conservative economics is that our policy is going to help everybody, including the poor. two examples, school choice, which will help those trapped in the inner cities and tyranny of the teachers unions will file -- have an education, have the skills to get a job. and you lower the marginal rates and taxes so you encourage economic expansion and creation of jobs. the idea that somehow we can sign the poor to the safety net and we patch it and dependence is a liberal idea. it's not our idea and romney is a guy who came late to his new ideology and still can't speak it very well. >> bret: newt gingrich jumped on this saying my economic plan raises basically -- raises everything. it makes everybody better, tries
to get everybody jobs. then his campaign was pointing out, this is a reason why mitt romney can't be the nominee. how big a problem is this in combination with other things that romney has said that obviously can be taken out of context? >> this is becoming a serious sound bite problem for mitt romney. you could put together a very serious attack ad that strings together corporations are people, and the 10 thousand dollars bet and i like being able to fire people, all using mitt romney's words, by the way. >> bret: many of them out of context. >> certainly that. although his campaign has done the same with barak obama. you can put those words together and begin to paint a portrait of mitt romney that actually fits a lot of the reality of mitt romney, which is why it's a problem for him not just in the primary, but also in the fall. you know in chicago, they are taking copious notes of all of these things and are recording it all. mitt romney has to be able to overcome this, as long as this goes on, you end up taking away valuable news cycles. you take away valuable attention. this is supposed to be a great day for his campaign. this is not what he wants to be explaining away.
>> bret: that's key point. this is a victory lap in the morning. it turned out to be a clean-up job in the afternoon. >> this was a down day for him for sure. and charles is right. romney just doesn't know how to -- he doesn't know the language, he doesn't know the tone to appeal to conservatives. i'm talking about real conservatives, the majority of whom voted for newt gingrich overwhelmingly in south carolina, but in florida as well. romney has to appeal to them. these are the ground troops for any successful republican presidential campaign. they're the people who show up. they're the volunteers. they're several million volunteers who showed up for george w. bush in 2004 which allowed him to win. romney has to appeal to them. look, the truth is his statement was utterly defensible. he said something that's quite obvious, that's being overinterpreted by the main stream media, which doesn't like him, and then a lot of the
conservative media as well. >> rush limbaugh. >> and people i know very well in this town and like who are criticizing him. you didn't have quite all of the statement. he not only said one, i'm not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net and he went to say -- >> if it needs repair i will fix it. >> he went on to say what that includes in the safety net. food stamps and rent supplements. i think he said medicaid and mentioned several other programs. he said something that was just obvious. it may not have been the most artful way to say it. but to pretend that he said, i don't care about the poor, i'm heartless, that's not at all what he said. but i'll say one thing, the media is quite capable of interpreting it that way even though that would be dishonest. >> look, i don't interpret it in that way. he wasn't saying i have no concern at all about poor people. but he spoke about them in terms which implies a kind of static
approach to poverty, which conservative idea rejects. look, a study of the federal reserve in minneapolis looking at the bottom level, people in the lowest 20% of earners, in 2001, within six years almost half had risen out of poverty. the conservative idea is that you have the mobility in classes. you don't write them off. you don't consign them to a hammock that the liberals have constructed in which they stay in dependsy. you have policies that lift them out. that's something romney hasn't been able to grasp. >> bret: he's talking about policy here. he's talking about his policy, that wants to focus on the middle class, his policy. what he says is, i'm not concerned about the very poor. they have a safety net. >> they do. >> bret: you know it's the sandpit. >> i think charles is overinterpreting this thing that he should have made some grand
statement about how conservatives want to deal with the very poor. i agree with that, charles. everything you said. but i don't think you can -- spell it out in some cnn interview. >> it's a mistake for some republican to outcompete a democrat in appeasing and pandering to the middle class. he should say, we're going to help everybody. >> bret: rick, i want to get to the florida delegate thing. carl cameron reported that the newt gingrich campaign is going to make a formal appeal and a formal legal challenge actually about proportional delegates, meaning florida shouldn't be a winner take all according to the rnc rules. >> he's right. but good luck with that. florida is done. you have to move on if you're newt gingrich. if he win has couple of delegates out of this, then i think that's all well and good. but the bottom line is mitt romney won and he won by a lot. this was a very big win for him. they're moving on to other states that are favorable to him. newt gingrich has to pick his battles and i don't think any of them reside in florida. >> bret: you don't think it will change? >> i don't. i think the rnc made clear they
>> bret: defense secretary leon panetta may have gotten ahead of the administration with this one on the way to a nato summit in brussels. the secretary announced u.s. forces will end combat operations in afghanistan next year. here is the specific quote. hopefully by mid to the latter part of 2013, we'll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a train and advise
role -- advise and assist role. it's not going to be a kind of formal combat role that we are now. he did say hope, but it still had some analysts scratching their heads. >> it seems to me that our government is at odds with itself in a sense that senior commanders in afghanistan and also general are under the clear impression that 2013 is a fighting seizing for them, with full combat operations and not a training support mission only. >> bret: jack keane, we're back with the pam. what about this? >> i think general keane is exactly right and that's not the only problem with this -- when you suggest panetta is getting out ahead of the administration. general keane is saying he's getting ahead of the general in afghanistan. all the troops, according at least to the obama plan, are to be removed by the end of 2014. that doesn't mean you have to start cranking down by the middle of 2013, a year and a
half earlier. the other problem is it's the same one that so many democrats and others had about iraq. they always wanted to set a date when we're going to leave and announce to the enemies and to al-qaeda and the taliban in afghanistan when we're going to leave. all they have o do is sit around and wait for that to happen. >> bret: rick, jennifer griffin reported according to one senior official that the announce am was supposed to be made in may at the nato ministerial actually in chicago and that it happened on the flight. >> grand pronouncement don't happen on a flight overseas on the way to something. i think this was more of an offhand comment that ended up revealing a lot about where the administration is headed. i think a policy hasn't been set yet, hasn't been agreed on even internally and there is going to be a lot of hashing out. it raises questions. what exactly -- we were talking about with the troops presence 'til the end of 2014 if this is no fighting going on in the middle of 2013. that hasn't been addressed.
you listen to what the secretary said, it's clearly aspirational. he's hoping this is the case. they're showing a lot of cards that they weren't ready to put on the table. >> bret: politically, it fits into the narrative that the administration has been trying to make, that we promised we'd be out of iraq. we said we'd get you out of afghanistan and we're doing that. >> that's why -- call me cynical, but i think there is more than a whiff of reelection politics at play here. after all, obama, when he announced the wind down of the surge when he himself had ordered a couple of years ago, he decided what happened in september of this year, which makes no sense on the ground. our commanders recommended either before or offer because it's in the middle of the fighting season. you would do it after, say, in december. but he wants to have it done by election day so he can argue that he did that. now we're going to have an announcement which will obviously be coming -- that was leaked out, but it would have come in may, that we'll be no longer in combat after the
middle of next year. also feather in obama's cap. but i would remind you that it's the democrats who argue that afghanistan is the good war, the real war, the war on terror. it wasn't the republicans. they are argued that the bush administration had not invested enough treasure and blood in afghanistan. that's why obama instituted a surge, tripling the number of troops, and now all of a sudden, he's decided he's had enough. he wants out. but he wants the word out before election day so it will help him in his reelection. >> bret: if the generals on the ground really have a problem with this and arguably some -- many did about the decision in iraq, and if they're vocal about it, or at least through channels they're vocal, is this a problem for the administration? >> well, there is also a problem between the pentagon and the white house, but this would be an even bigger problem. look, you heard what general petraeus said about which was it
that the president made? he said look, if i don't like it and i want to criticize it, i have to quit because if i'm here, he's the commander in chief and whether i disagree with his orders or agree with them, i have to carry them out. i suspect that's probably what the generals in afghanistan will do. they won't like what the president is deciding, but they'll -- he's the commander and they're not. >> bret: that's it for the panel. stay tuned to see a surprise cameo in the presidential google hangout this week. plus, our text to vote results on the other side of the break
>> bret: 83 percent said a great deal. 13% some, 2% not much. 2% not at all. thanks for your votes. the president participated in first ever google plus hangout monday taking questions from people all over the country. apparently a popular internet celebrity made a surprise appearance. >> mr. president, welcome to google plus. >> great to talk to you, steve. >> our first question today comes from a youtube celebrity, actually, i think he is someone that you are going to recognize. let's take a look ♪ ♪ [ laughter ] >> bret: i have seen that thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. that's it for this "special report," fair, balanced and unafraid. if you have n